noun, plural hippopotamuses, hippopotami [hip-uh-pot-uh-mahy] .
a large herbivorous mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, having a thick hairless body, short legs, and a large head and muzzle, found in and near the rivers, lakes, etc., of Africa, and able to remain under water for a considerable time.

1555–65; < Latin < Greek hippopótamos, earlier híppos potámios literally, riverine horse (term used by Herodotus in his account of the Egyptian hippopotamus); compare Middle English ypotame, ypotamos, ypotanus < Old French ypotame < Medieval Latin ypotamus

hippopotamic [hip-uh-puh-tam-ik] , hippopotamian [hip-uh-puh-tey-mee-uhn] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
hippopotamus (ˌhɪpəˈpɒtəməs)
n , pl -muses, -mi
1.  a very large massive gregarious artiodactyl mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, living in or around the rivers of tropical Africa: family Hippopotamidae. It has short legs and a thick skin sparsely covered with hair
2.  pigmy hippopotamus a related but smaller animal, Choeropsis liberiensis
[C16: from Latin, from Greek hippopotamos river horse, from hippos horse + potamos river]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1563, from L.L. hippopotamus, from Gk. hippopotamus "riverhorse" (earlier ho hippos ho potamios "the horse of the river"), from hippos "horse" + potamos "river, rushing water" (see petition). Replaced M.E. ypotame (c.1300), which is from the same source but via O.Fr.
"Ypotamos comen flyngynge. ... Grete bestes and griselich" ["Kyng Alisaunder," c.1300]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Ali at one juncture rides to fame on the back of a hippopotamus.
They were found among stone tools and butchered hippopotamus bones.
But consider the whale, whose closest living ancestor is the hippopotamus.
Occasionally hippopotamus is also taken, but adult rhinoceroses are generally avoided.
Image for hippopotamus
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